Books That Will Spark Your Creativity

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Unlock your creative ability by checking out one of these books from your local library:

Creative Quest by Questlove – Offers a guide to creativity composed of creative philosophies, stories, inspiration, and advice from the author’s own life and the numerous mentors and collaborators that he has encountered throughout his career.

Your Creative Career by Anna Sabino – Shows artists and creatives how to build a business that reflects their talent and passion while generating serious cash.

Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory – Intending to help those who want to express themselves creatively but think they don’t have the time, this book presents short artistic exercises that can be done on a plane, at the breakfast table, or during a meeting.

The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett – A marketing expert and CEO of a software analytics firm discusses the true path to commercial success, which involves achieving just the right balance between something novel and something familiar and provides tips and advice on how to get there.

Art Thinking by Amy Whitaker – A guide to working through the difficulties of thinking creatively while trying to get results uses practical ideas and principles from psychology, science, sports, law, business, and technology to help creative thinkers in any field get from Point A to Point B.

Creating Things That Matter by David A. Edwards – A world-renowned inventor, Harvard professor, and creator shares how he discovered a way of creating that transcends disciplines and incorporates the principles of aesthetics to invent things.

Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi – The podcaster and radio host argues that boredom is essential in making lives happier and more productive, and includes exercises for bringing about critical and creative thinking.

The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People by Carol Eikleberry – A practical career guide for offbeat, creatively-inclined individuals seeking work that suits their unique skills, talents, and passions.

Essay Collections

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Essays allow writers to express their thoughts and allow readers to embrace a new perspective. If you’re looking for some short, personal think pieces to digest, here are a few essay collections that have hit the library’s shelves in the past year:

Can You Tolerate This?: Essays by Ashleigh Young – Presents a collection of essays on youth and aging, ambition and disappointment, Katherine Mansfield tourism and New Zealand punk rock, and the limitations of the body.

Black Ink edited by Stephanie Stokes Oliver – A collection spanning more than two centuries highlights the literary progress of black people in America with essays by authors ranging from Frederick Douglass and Solomon Northup to Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay.

Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation edited by John Freeman – Collects 36 stories from such writers as Rebecca Solnit, Hector Tobar, Joyce Carol Oates, and Edwidge Danticat that examine life in a deeply divided America.

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith – A collection of both previously unpublished works and classic essays includes discussions of recent cultural and political events, social networking, libraries, and the failure to address global warming.

Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words by Kimberly Harrington – The editor of the RAZED parenting humor site presents a collection of emotionally honest, laugh-out-loud essays about motherhood, adulthood and womanhood as they are shaped by modern challenges ranging from social media to PTO politics.

Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon – Presents a collection of essays on fatherhood, including the author’s viral 2016 GQ piece about his 13-year-old son’s immersion in Paris Men’s Fashion Week.

Nothing Good Can Come From This: Essays by Kristi Coulter – A collection of essays from an author who recently quit drinking makes sharp, intelligent and brutally honest observations on the life of modern women, touching on topics like addiction, sex, money, privilege, ambition, adultery and power.

Banned Books Week 2018


Celebrate your freedom to read! Banned Books Week, which falls on September 23-29 this year, aims to bring attention to the problem of censorship. Each year hundreds of books are challenged in schools, bookstores and libraries for a wide variety of reasons. Last year alone, 416 books were either challenged or banned.

Censorship is a slippery slope. Once someone succeeds in having one book banned, for any reason, other people can argue for the banning of more books until we completely lose our freedom of unrestricted access to information.

Below are the five most challenged books of 2017, all of which can be borrowed from the JMRL catalog. For more information on Banned Books Week, visit

1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing 13 cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

3. Drama by Raina Telgemeier – Designing sets for her middle school’s play, Callie tries to overcome limited carpentry skills, low ticket sales and squabbling crew members only to find her efforts further complicated by the arrival of two cute brothers. Continue reading